TikTok ban pushed in the US: ByteDance must be sold within a year

On Saturday, Congress moved to ban the widely used video-sharing platform TikTok. The House made a second attempt to pass legislation aimed at addressing what lawmakers say poses a national security risk.

In a decisive vote of 360-58, the House of Representatives approved a bill with a provision that would force ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, to sell the company within a year. If the Chinese tech company doesn’t comply with the order, it will be removed from US app stores.

However, users can still access the app through alternative channels. Chinese officials are widely expected to block any attempt by ByteDance to sell the app.

In a rare session on Saturday, the House moved to expedite an additional foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan by bundling it with five other pieces of legislation, including a broadly supported bipartisan bill addressing concerns about TikTok and imposing sanctions on Russia and Iran. .

An additional topic discussed Saturday was an immigration bill that reflected the conservative priorities outlined in HR 2, a bill passed by the Republican House last year. With this immigration bill, conservatives hoped to pressure Democrats to accept a series of conservative immigration provisions in exchange for approving aid to Ukraine.

However, Speaker Mike Johnson stated that his seat needed the necessary votes to make such a demand. This immigration bill was the only piece of legislation that failed on Saturday. Because it was under the suspension of House rules, it could not reach the necessary two-thirds vote threshold to pass.

ByteDance vs. TikTok Ban: The Battle Begins

The TikTok bill seeks to address national security concerns surrounding the Chinese app. Lawmakers believe that China’s national security law gives the Communist Party (CCP) the power to access sensitive user data about Americans.

Despite TikTok executives believing the US had abandoned its plan to ban the app after Joe Biden joined the short video-sharing app, the president has indicated he would sign a TikTok ban if it would reach his desk.

“If they approve it, I will sign it,” he told reporters in March. The bill is expected to pass the Senate in some form given the vocal support from leaders of both parties. If Biden signs the legislation into law, ByteDance will have 12 months to find a buyer or file a lawsuit.

While the company is expected to file a lawsuit to oppose the legislation if it passes, Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski has made an offer to ByteDance’s CEO Shou Zi Chew, expressing his willingness to ‘acquire TikTok and operate in the US.

A previous attempt to ban the app during the Trump administration failed in court. In a video posted to TikTok last month, Chew vowed to challenge the legislation, as reported by Independent.

Additionally, the company mounted a bold blitz campaign in Congress, allowing TikTok users to effortlessly contact their local representative’s office to express their opposition to the legislation. This tactic led to the highest number of calls to many offices in recent history.

Some lawmakers disagreed with the campaign, leading to further polarization against the company. “We will not stop fighting and advocating for you,” Mr Chew told his company’s users in March.

“We will continue to do everything we can, including exercising our legal rights, to protect this incredible platform we built with you.”